Nanjing Diaspora

Cool crisp wind.
Radiant winter sun plays
shadow and shimmer
with swooping mountainous clouds.

A city corner.
Asymmetric-geometric store fronts
primped by avaricious signs
hawk their entrails.
A leafless, adolescent tree
swoons fitful
over a stout and stoic bench.
Buffalo cars, elephant trucks
bellow and purr,
simian pedestrians chat, brace and skitter.

Amid the dawning pandemonium,
a Chinese mother and daughter,
silent, impenetrable, tenacious,
walk to grammar school.
The two, eyes frozen forward,
march in brisk and grim lock-step.
The elder holds the younger hand,
a tight - full - close panic clasp
far beyond maternal.
The younger mirrors miniature the elder's heartbreak,
a natural - joyful - impetuous childhood
entombed in a sheath memory so cruel
as to mummify.

The human ethereals step mechanical by,
their echo backs cry mute genocide.
Another corner approaches,
they turn and vanish.